Cowlitz Chimneys West Side via Panhandle Gap

Cliffdell, Washington 98937

Cowlitz Chimneys West Side via Panhandle Gap

Cowlitz Chimneys: West Side via Panhandle Gap Professional Review and Guide

"Cowlitz Chimneys is the collective name of a group of rock peaks and spires forming an extension of the Cowlitz Divide on the east side of Mount Rainier, just east of Panhandle Gap. There are three chimneys. The South Chimney (or Main Chimney) is the largest and highest of the group, rising to an elevation of 7,605 feet and dominating the view looking east from Panhandle Gap. The 7,015-foot North Chimney is a steep rock spire with no easy route to its summit. The 7,421-foot Middle Chimney is an easy ridge traverse from the Wonderland Trail near Panhandle Gap. Being the easiest, the Middle Chimney is the most popular.

If views are what you are after, the Middle Chimney provides those in abundance, including extraordinary views of Little Tahoma Peak and the eastern parkland of Mount Rainier. The views from the South Chimney are similar; so considering the extra distance, greater difficulty, and higher risk involved, an ascent of the Middle Chimney is probably the best option. The North Chimney is the most difficult of the three; all routes involve complex approaches and Class 5 rock climbing. Due to the local topography, it would be a difficult undertaking to climb all three of the Cowlitz Chimneys in a single day."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
4,400 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
6 - 8 hours trailhead to summit
Class 3
USGS Mount Rainier East; Green Trails # 270 (Mount Rainier East)
Local Maps